MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – Nick Foles made his Jaguars debut.
That was far from all that happened for the Jaguars Thursday, but that was absolutely the major area to watch in a 22-7 preseason loss to the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium.
Foles, the Jaguars’ new starting quarterback, played four series in his first game action of any kind with his new team. He completed six of 10 passes for 48 yards and a touchdown with one interception, leading the Jaguars’ first-team offense on a touchdown drive late in the first quarter.
The Jaguars’ starting defense left after the first quarter and the starting offense left early in the second quarter after finishing a drive that began in the first quarter. The Jaguars led 7-0 when the starters left.
Wide receiver Dede Westbrook caught four passes from Foles for 29 yards, and his 10-yard touchdown reception gave the Jaguars a first-quarter lead. Running back Leonard Fournette rushed for 27 yards on seven first-quarter carries and caught two passes for 19 yards.
The Jaguars’ first-team defense allowed 10 yards on 14 first-quarter plays and the Jaguars had 70 first-quarter yards with the first-team offense.
Foles, the Super Bowl Most Valuable Player for the Philadelphia Eagles following the 2017 season who signed as an unrestricted free agent this past offseason, missed both of the Jaguars’ first two 2019 preseason games. Head Coach Doug Marrone held Foles and most of the team’s starters and front-line players out of those two games to be as healthy as possible entering the regular season.
Rookie defensive end/linebacker Josh Allen shined for the Jaguars Thursday, pressuring Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick into two early incomplete passes and tackling running back Kalen Ballage for a five-yard loss; the No. 7 overall selection in the 2019 NFL Draft, made an impact play on each of the Dolphins’ first four possessions and also had a pressure that forced a sack by defensive end Dawuane Smoot. He also had a three-yard loss on a pass reception in the second quarter.
“He’s been outstanding all camp, he really has,” Marrone said of Allen at halftime. “He’s made plays – he’s a humble guy, and then to see him out here and really light up and play the game, there’s no telling what type of year this guy can have.”
Defensive end Calais Campbell also praised Allen Thursday.
“It was good,” Campbell said. “I wanted to see how he was going to respond when somebody challenged him and he responded very well, as you see. That was incredible. … He was lights out. He was big in the run game, he was big in the pass game.
“He had a couple big tackles for loss, but he also was getting to the quarterback. He missed a couple sacks, so we’re going to have to get him on that, but he’s a baller.”
Left tackle Cam Robinson on Thursday started and played for the first time since sustaining a torn anterior cruciate ligament in a Week 3 victory over New England last season; he played on a snap count and left the game after two series – according to the plan. Cedric Ogbuehi replaced Robinson.
The Jaguars started what could be their first-team offensive line: Robinson, left guard Andrew Norwell, center Brandon Linder, right guard Will Richardson and rookie right tackle Jawaan Taylor; it marked the first time the group has played together. Richardson and A.J. Cann have been competing for the right guard position, and Thursday marked Richardson’s first start.
Step by step:
*Both teams struggled offensively early, with the Jaguars snapping a scoreless tie when Foles capped a 75-yard drive with a 10-yard touchdown pass to Westbrook in the corner of the end zone. That made it 7-0, Jaguars, with 4:02 remaining in the quarter.
*The Dolphins cut into the Jaguars’ early lead with a pair of second-quarter field goals by Jason Sanders – 40 yards with 11:59 remaining and 46 yards with 2:51 remaining.
*Miami took its first lead – 12-7 – when Fitzpatrick passed nine yards to running back Mark Walton with 7:12 remaining in the third quarter; the point-after was missed.
*The Dolphins extended the lead to 19-7 on a five-yard run by running back Patrick Laird with 13:01 remaining. A 43-yard field goal by Sanders made it 22-7 with 2:43 remaining.
Injury report: Ogbuehi left the game with a hamstring injury shortly after replacing Robinson; Leonard Wester replaced him at left tackle. … Jaguars wide receiver DJ Chark Jr. left the game after being hit hard on a second-quarter kickoff return and did not return after sustaining a concussion. … Wide receiver Terrelle Pryor sustained a third-quarter hamstring injury and did not return.
Notable: The Jaguars started Thursday’s game with defensive ends Yannick Ngakoue and Campbell in the game along with Allen. Defensive tackles Abry Jones and Taven Bryan were in the game, meaning the three ends/edge defenders could mark a significant new look – something close to a 3-4 look in their hybrid scheme. …. The Jaguars ruled out nine players before kickoff Thursday night. They were wide receiver Marqise Lee (knee), running back Alfred Blue (ankle), defensive tackle Marcell Dareus (elbow), tight end Charles Jones, linebacker Jake Ryan (knee), tight end Josh Oliver (hamstring), tight end Geoff Swaim, linebacker Quincy Williams (knee) and linebacker Davis Tull (leg). … Jaguars captains Thursday: Foles, Campbell, linebacker Myles Jack and kicker Josh Lambo.
What’s next: The Jaguars will play host to the Atlanta Falcons at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville Thursday at 7 p.m. to close out the preseason.